By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
On October 7, 2021, 18 former NBA players were charged in New York federal court for an alleged health insurance fraud scheme to rip off the league’s benefit plan, according to an indictment filed in the Southern District of New York. The defendants allegedly engaged in a scheme from at least 2017 through 2020 which involved the submission of fraudulent claims for reimbursement of medical and dental services that were not provided, prosecutors said. The claims totaled nearly $4 million.
The NBA Players Health and Welfare Benefit Plan provide additional medical coverage on top of existing medical coverage for active and former NBA players and their families. It is primarily funded by contributions from NBA teams.
Their Playbook Included False Claims and Deception.
Allegedly, the defendants provided ‘fake invoices’ for medical and dental services that were never delivered. Each person attempted to claim somewhere between $65,000 and $420,000 in alleged fraudulent claims. When all was said and done, the total ended up being about $3.9 million, from which the defendants got about $2.5 million in illicit proceeds, the indictment alleges.
Flagrant Foul For Violation of Health Care Fraud Laws.
The scheme was discovered partly because of sloppy work by the defendants themselves. Several of the fake invoices and medical forms raised red flags because “they are not on letterhead, they contain unusual formatting, they have grammatical errors,” authorities said. These types of errors are the ones typically seen in the fraudulent e-mails received from Nigerian princes trying to recover their frozen bank accounts and scam e-mails sent to us attorneys trying to phish us into phony attorney’s fees scams.
Additionally, travel records, e-mails, GPS data, and other records showed that the players in question were often nowhere near the location of the health care providers when they claimed to have been treated or used their services, according to the indictment. (I wonder how many Facebook postings also showed this.)
All 19 defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud. If convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison. To read the indictment in full, click here.
Read the DOJ’s press release on the case here.
Fraud is Fraud; Dishonesty is Dishonesty.
The problem here is, of course, a lack of integrity. Once you cheat or steal, even if it is just for a small amount of money, you are a thief. These guys sacrificed successful careers, stardom, prestige, and freedom, for a little bit of money.
Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Health Care Fraud, False Claims Act Violations, and Anti-Kickback Statute Violations.
The attorneys of The Health Law Firm represent healthcare providers in cases of accusations of medical billing fraud, health insurance audits, alleged overbilling, Medicare audits, ZPIC audits and RAC audits, False Claims Act cases, and whistleblower/qui tam cases throughout Florida and across the United States. Our attorneys also represent physicians, medical groups, nursing homes, home health agencies, pharmacies, hospitals, and other healthcare providers and institutions in Medicare and Medicaid investigations, audits, recovery actions, and termination from the Medicare or Medicaid Program.
To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free at (888) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.
Dienst, Jonathan. “18 former NBA players arrested by federal authorities in alleged health care scam.” NBC News. (October 7, 2021). Web.
Zaggar, Zachary. “18 Ex-NBA Players Indicted For Alleged $4M Health Plan Fraud.” (October 7, 2021). Web.
D’Angelo, Bob. “18 former NBA players charged in $4M insurance fraud scheme.” Kiro7 News. (October 7, 2021). Web.
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.
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